Good Friday


Crucifixion, Giovanni Donato da Montorfano,
1495, the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy
(opposite from The Last Supper)

Psalm 22

Deus, Deus meus

MY GOD, my God, look upon me; why hast thou forsaken me : and art so far from my health, and from the words of my complaint?
2. O my God, I cry in the day-time, but thou hearest not : and in the night-season also I take no rest.
3. And thou continuest holy : O thou worship of Israel.
4. Our fathers hoped in thee : they trusted in thee, and thou didst deliver them.
5. They called upon thee, and were holpen : they put their trust in thee, and were not confounded.
6. But as for me, I am a worm, and no man : a very scorn of men, and the outcast of the people.
7. All they that see me laugh me to scorn : they shoot our their lips, and shake their heads, saying,
8. He trusted in God, that he would deliver him : let him deliver him, if he will have him.
9. But thou art he that took me out of my mother’s womb : thou wast my hope, when I hanged yet upon my mother’s breasts.
10. I have been left unto thee ever since I was born : thou art my God, even from my mother’s womb.
11. O go not from me, for trouble is hard at hand : and there is none to help me.
12. Many oxen are come about me : fat bulls of Basan close me in on every side.
13. They gape upon me with their mouths : as it were a ramping and a roaring lion.
14. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint : my heart also in the midst of my body is even like melting wax.
15. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaveth to my gums : and thou shalt bring me into the dust of death.
16. For many dogs are come about me : and the council of the wicked layeth siege against me.
17. They pierced my hands and my feet; I may tell all my bones : they stand staring and looking upon me.
18. They part my garments among them : and casts lots upon my vesture.
19. But be not thou far from me, O Lord : thou art my succour, haste thee to help me.
20. Deliver my soul from the sword : my darling from the power of the dog.
21. Save me from the lion’s mouth : thou hast heard me also from among the horns of the unicorns.
22. I will declare thy Name unto my brethren : in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.
23. O praise the Lord, ye that fear him : magnify him, all ye of the seed of Jacob, and fear him, all ye seed of Israel.
24. For he hath not despised, nor abhorred, the low estate of the poor : he hath not hid his face from him, but when he called unto him he heard him.
25. My praise is of thee in the great congregation : my vows will I perform in the sight of them that fear him.
26. The poor shall eat and be satisfied : they that seek after the Lord shall praise him; your heart shall live for ever.
27. All the ends of the world shall remember themselves, and be turned unto the Lord : and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before him.
28. For the kingdom is the Lord’s : and he is the Governor among the people.
29. All such as be fat upon earth : have eaten and worshipped.
30. All they that go down into the dust shall kneel before him : and no man hath quickened his own soul.
31. My seed shall serve him : they shall be counted unto the Lord for a generation.
32. They shall come, and the heavens shall declare his righteousness : unto a people that shall be born, whom the Lord hath made.

Psalm 69

Salvum me fac

SAVE me, O God : for the waters are come in, even unto my soul.
2. I stick fast in the deep mire, where no ground is : I am come into deep waters, so that the floods run over me.
3. I am weary of crying; my throat is dry : my sight faileth me for waiting so long upon my God.
4. They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head : they that are mine enemies, and would destroy me guiltless, are mighty.
5. I paid them the things that I never took : God, thou knowest my simpleness, and my faults are not hid from thee.
6. Let not them that trust in thee, O Lord God of hosts, be ashamed for my cause : let not those that seek thee be confounded through me, O Lord God of Israel.
7. And why? for thy sake have I suffered reproof : shame hath covered my face.
8. I am become a stranger unto my brethren : even an alien unto my mother’s children.
9. For the zeal of thine house hath even eaten me : and the rebukes of them that rebuked thee are fallen upon me.
10. I wept, and chastened myself with fasting : and that was turned to my reproof.
11. I put on sackcloth also : and they jested upon me.
12. They that sit in the gate speak against me : and the drunkards make songs upon me.
13. But, Lord, I make my prayer unto thee : in an acceptable time.
14. Hear me, O God, in the multitude of thy mercy : even in the truth of thy salvation.
15. Take me out of the mire, that I sink not : O let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.
16. Let not the water-flood drown me, neither let the deep swallow me up : and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me.
17. Hear me, O Lord, for thy loving-kindness is comfortable : turn thee unto me according to the multitude of thy mercies.
18. And hide not thy face from thy servant, for I am in trouble : O haste thee, and hear me.
19. Draw nigh unto my soul, and save it : O deliver me, because of mine enemies.
20. Thou hast known my reproof, my shame, and my dishonour : mine adversaries are all in thy sight.
21. Thy rebuke hath broken my heart; I am full of heaviness : I looked for some to have pity on me, but there was no man, neither found I any to comfort me.
22. They gave me gall to eat : and when I was thirsty they gave me vinegar to drink.
23. Let their table be made a snare to take themselves withal : and let the things that should have been for their wealth be unto them an occasion of falling.
24. Let their eyes be blinded, that they see not : and ever bow thou down their backs.
25. Pour out thine indignation upon them : and let thy wrathful displeasure take hold of them.
26. Let their habitation be void : and no man to dwell in their tents.
27. For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten : and they talk how they may vex them whom thou hast wounded.
28. Let them fall from one wickedness to another : and not come into thy righteousness.
29. Let them be wiped out of the book of the living : and not be written among the righteous.
30. As for me, when I am poor and in heaviness : thy help, O God, shall lift me up.
31. I will praise the Name of God with a song : and magnify it with thanksgiving.
32. This also shall please the Lord : better than a bullock that hath horns and hoofs.
33. The humble shall consider this, and be glad : seek ye after God, and your soul shall live.
34. For the Lord heareth the poor : and despiseth not his prisoners.
35. Let heaven and earth praise him : the sea, and all that moveth therein.
36. For God will save Sion, and build the cities of Judah : that men may dwell there, and have it in possession.
37. The posterity also of his servants shall inherit it : and they that love his Name shall dwell therein.

Mark 15

Listen to Mark 15 at BibleGateway (Opens a separate tab)

AND straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him to Pilate. And Pilate asked him, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answering said unto them, Thou sayest it. And the chief priests accused him of many things: but he answered nothing. And Pilate asked him again, saying, Answerest thou nothing? behold how many things they witness against thee. But Jesus yet answered nothing; so that Pilate marvelled.

Now at that feast he released unto them one prisoner, whomsoever they desired. And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection. And the multitude crying aloud began to desire him to do as he had ever done unto them. But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews? 10 For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy. 11 But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them. 12 And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews? 13 And they cried out again, Crucify him. 14 Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him. 15 And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified.

16 And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band. 17 And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head, 18 And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews! 19 And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him. 20 And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him.

21 And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross. 22 And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull. 23 And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not. 24 And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. 25 And it was the third hour, and they crucified him. 26 And the superscription of his accusation was written over, The King Of The Jews27 And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. 28 And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors. 29 And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, 30 Save thyself, and come down from the cross. 31 Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. 32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.

33 And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 35 And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias. 36 And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down. 37 And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. 38 And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. 39 And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.

40 There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome; 41 (Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him;) and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem.

42 And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. 44 And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. 45 And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre. 47 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid.

“The Sacrifice of the Cross”
from The Harmony of the Collects, Epistles and Gospels:
A Devotional Exposition of the Teaching of the Christian Year
by the Rev. Prebendary Melville Scott, D.D.,
Vicar of Castlechurch, Stafford.
SPCK, London, 1902.

THERE can be no doubt that our Church desires us to consider the Cross as the sacrifice for sin. With this the special Lessons of the day are also in harmony.

In this second passage from the Epistle to the Hebrews we are taught, as on Passion Sunday, the superiority of the Christian sacrifice to all the sacrifices by which it was prefigured. It is most fitting that on Good Friday we should thus consider the benefits of the Passion and its relation to human sin.

A. A Better Sacrifice.

The Jewish sacrifices, by their very repetition, confessed their inadequacy to cleanse the conscience from sin. They were also sacrifices of something external to man. He offered to God not his own life, but a life lower than his own.

In both respects we have a better sacrifice, for the offering of the body of Christ was so complete and final that it can never be offered again. The sacrifice Christ offered was that of a human body, and, therefore, better than the offering of the lives of bulls and goats. But more than this, He offered that which is the very essence of sacrifice–a surrendered will. His death was the completion of a life of sacrifice, His offered body was the outward expression of the inward offering of the will. In union with this will we have been sanctified, and His sacrifice has become available for us. Thus God has taken away the first sacrifices that He may establish the second and more perfect sacrifice. He has abolished the outward in order to bring in the inward sacrifice.

B. A Better Priesthood.

Christ is a better Priest than those of old, for their work was never done. Year by year they offered the same sacrifices for the same object. They were pathetically incapable of completing their task for all their diligence. Christ had but to offer a single sacrifice, and then to enjoy His eternal rest at the right hand of God, waiting His final victory. He had done all that was needed for the perfect acceptance of “all them that are being sanctified,” viz., of the whole body of the believing Church, who are seeking, receiving, and submitting to the power of sanctifying grace.

C. A Better Covenant.

A mediator implies a covenant, for he offers to God a pure life, which is, as it were, the medium through which God looks upon those whom He represents. Thus we turn to the Christian covenant. It is a covenant conferring two benefits. It is a covenant of sanctification, under which God engages to write His laws upon the heart; and a covenant of pardon. “Their sins…will I remember no more.”

In no sense is the Christian covenant one of mutual agreement, and, strictly speaking, there are no such things as terms or conditions of salvation, but only three great duties:–

(1) Faith in relation to God.

We are to draw near with faith. The way to God’s presence is open for us, and we may approach with boldness. It is not a way of dead ordinances, but a personal, living way. Christ is our way through the veil that hides God. It is a human way–“the way of His flesh.”

We translate verse 20–“A new and living way through the veil, namely, the way of His flesh”–a suggestion of the late Bishop Westcott in his Cambridge lectures.

(2) Hope in relation to ourselves.

Through the atonement we receive the assurance of personal forgiveness and sufficient grace.
Verst 23, as in R.V., “Confession of our hope.”

(3) Love in relation to others.

This love is to find expression in Christian activity, common worship, mutual encouragement and exhortation.

This is most prominently brought before us in the narrative of S. John.

A. The Sinless Sacrifice.

Christ came forth wearing the crown of thorns, which represents the sinner’s curse, and the cast-off robe, which represents the sinner’s shame, to receive the sentence of condemnation, but Pilate cannot condemn. Twice over he repeats the sentence of acquittal, “I find no fault in Him.” This was the verdict of the judge.

B. The Divine Sacrifice.

Christ’s claim to be this is attested by His accusers, and is echoed by Pilate’s fears and anxious question, “Whence art Thou?” He has said, “Behold the man,” but now he fears and almost believes that it would have been only truth to have said, “Behold your God.” As God Christ declares to Pilate the degree of his sin. Pilate’s doubt is the Christian’s certainty; his fear is our hope.

C. The Kingly Sacrifice.

Christ died as a king dies for his people. He was accused of making Himself a King. He was sentenced as a King. His accusation placed upon His Cross bore witness to His universal Kingship in the three great languages of the world. It was so written as to imply that it was true. Pilate was asked to change the title from fact to assertion, but he refused. What was written remained, and remains written.

D. The Prophetic Sacrifice.

This thought is ever present to S. John, who thrice records the fulfilment of prophecy in the Crucifixion, and in this case by four Roman soldiers who had never heard of it. The fact is recorded by the other evangelists, but here only with a minuteness of detail showing the importance attached to the correspondence with Ps. xxii. 18.

E. The Human Sacrifice.

Christ gave many proofs of His manhood, but none more touching than His love to His mother and His friend. Jesus, the Perfect God, was also Perfect Man, and it is an essential part of godliness to be human. His human body thirsted for water, and His heart for love. Christ’s atonement depends upon His Divinity and upon His Humanity equally.

F. The Finished Sacrifice.

This is the leading idea of the last section. Christ’s final cry was of satisfaction at the completed evidence of prophecy, the completed work of obedience, and the completed attainment of man’s salvation. The soldier’s spear was also not only the evidence of actual death, but of the benefits of that death as bringing cleansing and life to men (cf. notes on First Sunday after Easter).

The unbroken body was the final proof of the fulfilment in Christ of the sacrifice of the Passover, and of the special command–“a bone of Him shall not be broken.”

Thus the piercing of Christ fulfilled both the law and the prophets.



We plead the Sacrifice of Christ on behalf of:–
A. The Whole Church.

This is the family of God which has received the adoption of sons through the sacrifice of Christ and by virtue of the new covenant in Christ’s Blood.

B. Every Member of the Church.

We plead the sacrifice of Christ not only for the whole body, but for every degree, section, and member of it, that all the members may each perform their special vocations and ministries within the Church.

C. Those Outside the Church.

We plead for these by the love of God in Creation, and by His uncovenanted mercies, that they may be brought into the sphere of the covenant.

We pray for those in various degrees of error; the Jews and Turks, who worship God but not in Christ; the infidels or heathen, who worship Him not at all; the heretics, who worship Him amiss. We pray that all may be brought through repentance into the one fold..